Thursday, November 24, 2011

New rules in effect for Australian student visas

The first stage of a series of changes in Australian student visa laws is being implemented as part of the government's response to the Knight Review, including changes in financial requirements and the admission process.

The Knight Review is a government appointed strategic review of the student visa program to help reform the Australian immigration student visa program.

From 5 November, student visa applicants will need to include a confirmation of enrolment, issued by their intended education provider, as part of their student visa applications, the statement said.
A new 'genuine temporary entrant' (GTE) criterion was also implemented 5 November. According to the department, the criterion addresses whether the individual circumstances of an applicant indicate that their intention is for a temporary stay in Australia. It will be assessed by interview in most cases and will consider the student's background and the value of the course to their future.

Additionally, the financial requirements for certain student visa applicants have been reduced, meaning students will need up to AUD36,000 less in the bank when applying for a visa. The department noted that "applicants for the vocational education and training and private education sectors in particular will benefit from this change".

Other changes that are now in place include:

• Extending the time new PhD students can stay in Australia on a subclass 574 visa while their thesis is being marked;
• Discontinuing pre-visa assessment policy to help speed up visa processing;
• Allowing prepaid homestay fees to be included in the financial requirements assessment for a student visa;
• English language students can apply for a visa without first meeting minimum English skills requirements

"The change that came in this week recognises that the financial requirements for student visas were often too onerous, and discouraged applicants from choosing Australia as their preferred study destination," said Bowen. "We want to avoid the situation where student visa holders are desperate to stay in Australia to work to pay off large study debts amassed at home."

"While international students may aspire to remain in Australia, if they cannot achieve permanent residency or long-term employee sponsorship, they need to return to their home countries," Mr Bowen said.

The majority of the stage two Knight Review changes are proposed to be implemented by mid 2012 with some other changes to commence in early 2013.

Please check our our Australian programs on our websiste:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Canadian Experience Visa Class offers faster option for permanent residency

Canada is attracting increasing numbers of economic immigrants applying for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Visa immigration stream, according to Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. The program fast-tracks permanent residency visa applications for skilled temporary foreign workers and graduate students who have spent time in Canada on temporary visas.

According to the press release by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canada's Experience Visa, created in 2008, is one of Canada's most recent programs aimed at ensuring Canada retains a skilled work force "and motivated individuals who have demonstrated a strong work ethic, have an ability to contribute to the economy, and will easily integrate into Canadian life".

In order to be eligible for the visa class, applicants must be either: a temporary foreign worker with at least two years of full-time skilled work experience in Canada, or a foreign graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution with at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada. Applicants must be fluent in English or French and apply while working in Canada or within one year of leaving their job in Canada.

Before the program was created, highly skilled foreigners could not become permanent residents from within Canada. "We'd tell them to leave the country because their temporary foreign work permit or student visa had expired" after they'd completed two years of contract work here or obtained a degree at a Canadian university," Kenney recalled.

Kenney expects the number of candidates for Canada's Experience Visa to rise to 7,000 in 2012, up from 2,545 in 2009. Last week, Canada welcomed its 10,000th permanent resident who came in through this stream since its inception in 2008. It is currently Canada's fastest-growing immigration program.

Canada has continued to admit an average of 254,000 immigrants each year.

"We're maintaining the highest per capita levels of total immigration in the developed world, with, I think, the sole exception of New Zealand," said Kenney.

"The CEC and the PhD initiative represent what we hope is the future of immigration to Canada: bright young people who have a Canadian education or work experience that will be recognized by Canadian employers, and who have strong English or French language skills," said Kenney. "Such newcomers are set for success."
Global Visa Support can help you to enter Canada under our Canada: Study-Migrate program.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Australia experiencing serious skills shortage - More immigration needed

Australia is expected to face a serious shortage of professionals and tradespeople within the next 15 years; According to an analysis of retirement patterns in by the Australian Bureau of Statistics many Australians will be reaching retirement age over this period. This means Australia will need to recruit more and more overseas skilled workers to address the looming workforce shortage. In particular Australia needs health, engineering, and education professionals.

Additionally, Western Australia is currently experiencing its largest skills shortage of mining tradespeople since 2008. Western Australia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that more than 450,000 additional miners would be needed by the state in the next 10 years.

With fast-emerging economies like India needing its metals and minerals, mining shortages in Australia are expected to affect many other countries. India's urban population is projected to rise from the present 340 million to 590 million in the next 20 years which will result in a huge increase in demand for electricity.

Eligible applicants can apply for an employer-sponsored Subclass 457 work visa if they have a job lined up already.

Skilled overseas workers will be able to stay longer in Australia. Effective Monday, Australian immigration officials are expediting applications for 457 work visas as well as increasing the employer sponsorship period to six years from the present three. The work visa programme has been crucial in meeting skill gaps.

In addition to expediting applications, Australian Immigration officials have been conducting meetings across the country as part of their outreach programme to encourage more employers to use the 457 visa process.

"These changes to the work visa programme will particularly benefit large Indian corporations operating in Australia in the areas of IT, mining and ports. It will help them bring niche skill sets to Australia for their current and new projects. This will accelerate filling of skill gap that currently exists," Deepak Raj Gupta, president of the Australia India Business Council's Canberra Chapter, told Business Standard.

The number of corporate applications for 457 visas has seen a tremendous growth in recent years. Australia granted 113,725 skilled migration visas in 2010-11, up from 107,868 in 2009-10.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Canada introduces new 'super visa' for families

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Canadian officials on Friday announced a new two-year, multi-entry "super visa" for parents and grandparents of immigrants settled in Canada.

The move came after wait times for sponsorship of "family class" applications had grown to an unwieldy seven years or longer.

"Without taking action, those times will continue to grow, and that is unacceptable," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney in announcing the move.

"Action must be taken to cut the backlog, reduce the wait times, and ensure that the parents and grandparents program is sustainable over the long run," Kenney said.

The multiple-entry "Parent and Grandparent Super Visa" will be valid for up to 10 years, officials said, and allow applicants to remain in Canada for 24 months before needing seek visa renewal.

The new visas will begin on December 1 and the will be issued, "on average, within eight weeks of the application," officials said.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Student visa curbs are damaging our reputation, Universities UK warns

Home Office reveals 11,000 fall in the number of overseas students since tougher measures introduced

By: Alan Travis, home affairs editor, The Guardian,

Immigration minister Damian Green says: 'Widespread abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long.'

The Universities UK action group has issued a warning about Britain's reputation in education after new figures revealed that the government's curb on overseas students had reduced their numbers by 11,000 and led to more than 450 colleges pulling out of the market.

The Home Office said more than 400 of the pre-degree colleges lost their right to recruit international students because they could not meet the standards of a new inspection regime.

Universities UK said cutting such courses was damaging Britain's reputation for being "open for business" and undermining the pathway programmes operated by many universities. It estimates that 40% of international students go through such colleges before going taking a degree at a British university.

Student visa reforms, which included tougher sponsor and English language requirements, came into effect in April.

The Home Office said new inspection standards were designed to ensure that genuine international students received the highest quality education.

About 400 colleges – more than 20% of the sector – had their sponsorship revoked as they did not apply in time and 51 had their licences revoked after the UK Border Agency investigated a spike in applications from south Asia just before the tougher English language tests came into force.

The immigration minister, Damian Green, said: "Widespread abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long and the changes we have made are beginning to bite. Too many students have come to the UK with the aim of getting work and bringing over family members."

Nicola Dandridge of Universities UK, said it believed the government's aim of reducing net migration to below 100,000 a year lay behind the curbs. "Universities UK believes that the number of international students coming into the country should be accounted for separately and not included in the definition of net migration for the purposes of government policy. International students are not economic migrants. They come to the UK to study and then they leave."

She said Britain could not afford to make the same costly mistakes as the US and Australia which both curbed overseas students numbers and then dropped the policy when they realised it had seriously damaged the international competitiveness of their higher education sector.